Monday, January 26, 2015

MondayMorning Inspiration

Good Morning!!! Can you believe that this is the last week of January...already! 
A couple of weeks ago, we took a  look at welt pockets and gained a lot of inspiration. Well, bound buttonholes are nothing more than tiny welt pockets. The problem with bound buttonholes though is that they are small, fidgety and just down right scary to put into a garment that you've worked so hard on. Well, be sure to scroll on down as I have listed some wonderful tutorials and even a tool that makes the process so much easier. But first, let's take a look at a few interesting and pretty buttonholes.
This buttonhole is nothing more than a long welt pocket with openings for the 3 buttons. This could make a lovely accent on a garment.
I love triangular shaped bound buttonholes. This is obviously from a vintage book. What a sweet look with the addition of the bows for buttons.
Everything about this jacket is beautiful! The shape, the matching of the plaid, the bias cut of the plaid on the front, the raised neckline and then....not only did they add bound buttonholes, but they are on an slant.
Look closely at this jacket. This is basically the same idea as the first buttonhole above, but in a practical application. The bound buttonhole is long to incorporate the 2 buttons.
If you've taken a look at Vogue Patterns, you've seen this lovely coat from Ralph Rucci.
Here's a couple of close ups of the buttonholes.
Love the addition of the thread loops.
Here's another example of slanted bound buttonholes. Beautifully done I might add.
Details are what make a garment interesting. This is just a basic bound buttonhole, but look closely. Of course you see that the buttonhole is in a contrasting fabric, but notice the thread color that was used to sew the button to the garment. It doesn't match the button or the garment, but the buttonhole.
This is an OMG button hole. The little touch of piping is sensational.
I thought that this was a very interesting fabric combination, felted wool and the gingham.
Real interest is added with the toggle style button, a little wider buttonhole and the the use of 3 different colors.
Now, if you don't look closely, you'll miss the mitered stripes in the buttonhole. Mezzo Couture did a lovely tutorial on this buttonhole that you can it find HERE.
The method that was used to create the above buttonhole was also used for this very interesting shaped buttonhole by Diana of Diana's Sewing Lessons. You can find the tutorial HERE.
How about this interesting shape from Louise Cutting. You can find the tutorial HERE.
Now for a treat!!
When I was 16 years old, I bought this tool,
This is the Dritz Bound Buttonhole Tool. I have guarded mine with my life. Now, I can make buttonholes without it, but I do love this tool. For many years, the tool was not available. Dritz never allowed their patents to expire, smart on their part, and they are now once again producing the tool. Again, smart on their part. If you do not have this tool, it's one that I HIGHLY recommend getting.

I found this link on Amazon. The tool is $4.19, but then of course there is shipping. I also found this link on the Joann Fabrics website. It's a dollar more than the amazon price, but the shipping might be cheaper, so check it out.
Making beautiful bound buttonholes is just like making beautiful welt pockets, it takes practice. But please don't shy away from making the buttonholes as they can really set your garment apart.
Have a lovely week!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

This quote was given to me this past week and it was just what I needed. I hope that it speaks to you as well. Rhonda

Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem, and
Smarter than you think.

                                                                                  A.A. Milne author of 
                                                                                  Winnie The Pooh

Eating For Your Health/Vegetarian Chili

Last week I shared that I will be starting the Daniel Diet on February 1st. There isn't a lot of caffeine in my diet, but I do drink a few cups of green tea every morning. So in preparation, I have been cutting back on my tea intake and limiting my tea to only one tea bag each morning. If you do decide to do the diet, I highly recommend reducing your caffeine over a few days rather than doing it all at once. If you do it all at once, you will experience a headache that may last for a few days. 
A couple of ladies have said that they would like to join me. Thank you! It's nice to know that I won't be alone :) As I said last week, the Daniel Diet is basically a vegan diet, with exceptions. Remember, potato chips are vegan, but fried foods and processed foods are to be avoided. I plan to stay on the diet for at least 21 days, I may extend it to the entire month of February. I'll post how I'm doing on Sundays. You are more than welcome to join me. Leave your progress in the comment section, or you are always welcome to email me, Good luck!

A friend of mine sent me a recipe for a vegetarian chili that sounded very interesting. The recipe is packed full of vegetables, but the interesting ingredient is the orange juice soaked bulgar. I decided to give it a try and I am so happy that I did. I was afraid that it might be a little bitter to the taste, but not at all. In fact, it has a savory and somewhat sweet taste.
The recipe is from Charlie Palmer's Kitchen. The only change I made to the recipe was to use fire-roasted tomatoes rather than just the plain chopped tomatoes.

Charlie Palmer's Vegetarian Chili

½ C bulgur wheat
1 C fresh orange juice
¼ C olive oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 T kosher salt
1 T chili powder
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 T oregano
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1 eggplant, trimmed and diced
2 small yellow squash, trimmed and diced
2 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
1-1/2 lbs. mushrooms, quartered
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1 T tomato paste
1 16-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Crumbled goat cheese for garnish

*A note about the chili. What sets this vegetable chili apart is the bulgur wheat soaked in orange juice.  Adding it in the final step gives the chili the weight and mouth-feel of protein;  and, the mild acidity of the absorbed citrus juice plays well against the richness of the cooked spices.

In a bowl, soak the bulgur wheat in the orange juice until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 45 minutes.
In 4-quart stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bay leaves, salt, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and oregano.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to thoroughly incorporate all of the ingredients.
Add garlic.  Cook for about ½ - 1 minute.
Add all vegetables, the canned tomatoes with juices, and tomato paste.  Stir carefully to combine all of the ingredients and prevent the paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot, decrease the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cooking process.  This allows the liquid from the various vegetables to escape, creating a kind of vegetable stock in which they simmer.
Stir in the chickpeas, kidney beans, and the orange-juice soaked bulgur wheat.
Cover and simmer for another 25 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Serve the chili topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Since I am avoiding dairy products, I opted to forgo the goat cheese and top my chili with diced green onions. The flavor of the chili is robust and quite satisfying. I hope you give it a try!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Showcasing The Plaid Raised Waist Skirt With a Back Flounce

Back in November I posted this skirt as part of a Monday Morning Inspiration post on plaid fabrics. So many of you loved the skirt, so I did a post on how to draft the skirt. You can find that post HERE, just in case you missed it. It really is a very pretty skirt.
Ruth of made a lovely version, but she decided to add the flounce to center back. You can find her post on the skirt HERE.
The lovely Cennetta of loved the plaid and she always enjoys trying out a new drafting project, so she decided to give it a go. She kept both of the flounces, but dropped the raised waist. You can find her post HERE.
Check out how cute her skirt is!
 I love the shorter version and I think she looks absolutely adorable in the skirt.
 Hmmm, I think I need to get mine finished!!!!
Thanks to Ruth and Cennetta for giving the skirt a try. I think you both look amazing in your versions.
If by chance you give this skirt or any other drafting project I've posted a try, please shoot me an email and let me know, I love seeing what you've done and even more, I love to share your work.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Through the Looking-Glass/The Haute Couture Club of Chicago Fashion Show

As many of you know, I belong to a wonderful sewing group in Chicago called The Haute Couture Club of Chicago. The club is comprised of a group of women who make the most amazing clothes. Each year we host a fashion show that showcases our lovely garments. This year's show will be May 3rd. Through the Looking-Glass is inspired by the adventures that Alice had and the characters that she met as she journeyed through Wonderland.
I have been asked to write our fashion show blog. There you will find lots of inspiration. If you would like to take a look, or journey along with us, you can find the blog HERE.
For today's post, I found hats that the Mad Hatter himself would love. Here's a sneak peek.

We are looking forward to a fabulous fashion show. If by chance you are going to be in Chicago on May 3, 2015, we cordially invite you to attend. If you sew, you will love our show!

Owls On Parade

Good Morning All!!! It's VERY cold this morning, but a bright blue sky. I think I'm going to bundle up and pull out my skis. It's just too pretty to stay in regardless of how cold it is.
Before I go, I wanted to brag a little on the pattern weight owls that were made by Julianne Bramson and her American Sewing Guild chapter during their recent winter retreat. They are so cute!  
You may not know that Julianne is part of the dynamic duo who wrote Bias Cut Blueprints.
Julianne is also the brains behind a wonderful pattern line that the book is based on, Fashion In Harmony. In the upcoming months, I will be doing a number of posts on the patterns that are provided in Bias Cut Blueprints. I think you will be amazed.
Now, there's nothing more important than keeping a straight  grainline when you are working with a bias cut pattern so why not make a few pattern weights of your own? I have now made 18, but I've given them all away so I need to get a few made for myself.
If you would like to try making a few, you can find the pattern and a video tutorial HERE.
Thanks Julianne and your ASG chapter for giving the pattern weights a try. Hope you had fun!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Recap of the Thrifty Thursday Whirling Cap

So many of you liked the hat I posted last last week for Thrifty Thursday. It really is a very cute hat. I lost the one I made for the post. Well, I say lost, I actually gave it away. I visited with a friend soon after I made it and she went crazy over the it's now hers :) I think that's a good way to lose a hat!
I wanted to do a recap post because a number of people had a difficult time downloading the pattern. Either go to this website and right click on the image, or right click on the picture below and then save it to "my pictures."
When you print out the pattern, it will look like this. The bottom of the pattern should measure 4" and you can see that the tip of the pattern is off the page. Not a problem at all, just tape an extra piece of paper on the pattern and draw it in.
My original cap was cut on the ribbing edge of the sweater that I used. I had plenty of fabric left in the sweater, so I cut another. The sweater had been felted a bit, but to tighten up the edge a little, I soaked the cap in hot water and then threw it in the dryer.
It tightened up the edge the amount that I wanted and the cap fits great. I just need to stitch the flower on and it will be ready to wear. To tell the truth, I've already worn it :) I'll show you a picture of me in the cap soon.
Linda T of was Johnny on The Spot about getting one made. She makes chemo caps for a hospital in her area and she thought that this would make a fun new design.
She made the cap out of fleece and added a band. I really like the look. You can find her entire post HERE.
Good luck with downloading the pattern. I hope this helps. The pattern is lots of fun to make up and looks so cute on.
I have the 2014 Wednesday Showcase recap post all ready to go....finally! I'll be back a little later today with that post.
Happy Wednesday!